Hayden Lake Members Become Local Medical Missionaries

February 10, 2015 | Lorraine Gabriel

“The highlight of my summer was the opportunity to be a medical missionary,” says Debby Maniscalco. “I do not have a medical background, yet I was able to participate in an educating and life-changing experience. All I had to do was be willing to give my time.”

Maniscalco is a member of the Hayden Lake (Idaho) Church. A goal of the church is that every member can be a medical missionary. Some dismiss “medical” work as specifically for medical professionals, but members led by John Torquato, a practicing medical missionary and physician, don’t think so. They have rallied behind the truth and effectiveness of this statement by Ellen G. White: “We have come to a time when every member of the church should take hold of medical missionary work” (Testimonies to the Church, vol. 7, p. 62).

During the summer of 2014, this became clear as committed members along with two senior medical students from Loma Linda University, two young registered nurses and two other young professionals teamed up for seven weeks of blessing others. They set out to follow the example of Jesus.

“I was amazed that there were people who were willing to get up at 5:30 in the morning to exercise, people who were willing to be real and vulnerable about their struggles in life, to see a person moved to tears when they understood the sacrifice that Christ endured for them,” says Maniscalco.

This group visited homes, encouraged the discouraged and helped individuals with exercising, grocery shopping, cooking and sharing meals together. Anything that was needed for lifestyle change, the team was there to assist. They bonded with these individuals on a personal level, engaging their hearts so that they would see that there is a God of love.

But this was not the end. The people were invited to the church for cooking classes, health lectures, prayer meetings and Friday night services conducted by the students. The combination of visits along with events at the church brought seven new friends who now regularly attend the church.

One person newly baptized is Beth Duffy. "I always was a yo-yo dieter. I prayed for help, and the Lord answered … . I not only lost 21 pounds over eight weeks, but I also learned the importance of getting fresh air into my lungs, moving my body in new ways and walking closer with Jesus," she says.

Toward the end of the summer, health evangelist Rico Hill, from Beehive Ministries, held meetings at the Hayden Church emphasizing the importance of the physical law/moral law tie-in. “Rico Hill brought the Lord into everything,” says Christine Parker, who is studying in preparation for baptism.

Parker was so overwhelmed with the warmth and love week after week that she decided to attend Hayden Lake’s evangelistic series, which began in September with Brian McMahon, North Pacific Union Conference evangelist.

The summer made a difference in Maniscalco’s life as well as for the Hayden Church and community. “I saw lives changed — it was wonderful," she says. "I thank the students that came here and offered their lives as a service.”

Plans are in place to repeat this medical missionary model in the greater Spokane area. But prior to that, Hill, with a team of professional guest lecturers, will be conducting medical missionary training called CHAT (Community Health Advocate Training) at the Upper Columbia Conference office in Spokane, Wash. This is training to prepare all church members to work together and show the love and compassion of Christ to those around them. For more information or to register, go to uccsda.org/chat.